Sometimes, life is hard.
And sometimes, you just have to acknowledge that life is hard and being an adult sucks.
Today I was reminded of a poster I used to see hanging somewhere at my high school. It had the photo of a cute cat with a message written over it along the lines of ‘nothing is so bad that you cannot talk about it’. It stuck with me.
One of the ways I have found cathartic in dealing with wavering states of mental health, both my own and others, is by listening to the Mental Pod. The weekly podcast is the brainchild of comedian Paul Gilmartin. He’s not a therapist, but he does a damn good job of uniting all kinds of people and talking about the sensitive issues surrounding mental health. I truly admire his openness and his honesty.
“It’s not a doctor’s office. Think of it more as a waiting room that doesn’t suck.”
Each week he interviews guests on the Mental Pod and encourages them to talk about their life, experiences and thoughts. It’s the only podcast I regularly tune in to. It’s enlightening to hear Paul talk about living in the up-and-down world of a person with mental health issues because I come from a world where these things were not really not discussed.
I prefer listening to his female guests (I feel a greater affinity with the struggles of the female mind), but I enjoy hearing male guests pinpoint something deep and dark I have within myself. The irrational fears we all have transcend our chromosomal differences. The best part of the podcast is towards the end: Paul and his guests have a fear-off and a love-off where they trade their own secret fears and loves. It may not sound like much, but when you have someone else verbalise your deepest, darkest secrets, the shame evaporates.
You feel that, too? I’m not alone!
So much of western culture is about appearances. When people ask you how you are, you respond “Great, and you?”, without pausing to consider how you really are feeling. Melancholia is not an acceptable state to declare yourself in. But that all changed after I started listening to the Mental Pod. Paul Gilmartin has made it okay to say “pretty lousy”, or “this week has been a little rough, because I’ve been feeling depressed”. I still continue the standard lines (“I’m well”) with acquaintances, but for my family and close friends, I tell it to them straight. And I have felt such a swell of goodwill, love and affection. I am being real and they are more inclined to be real in return.
Check out the Mental Pod podcast on iTunes, or stream it through the Mental Pod website.